Search

Lack of cash and conflict loom as Norfolk councils face continued tough times

PUBLISHED: 09:12 27 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:12 27 December 2017

People using parts of the NDR that are open to traffic. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

People using parts of the NDR that are open to traffic. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

In the first of a series looking at the year gone by in several key areas, Dan Grimmer puts the focus on local government.

A shake-up could be on the cards for Norfolk councils in 2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLY A shake-up could be on the cards for Norfolk councils in 2018. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Cash, or the lack of it, dominated local government in Norfolk in 2017 - and will continue to do so over the next 12 months.

Norfolk County Council is consulting over cuts and savings as it wrestles with ways to plug a £125m funding gap - including potential cuts to bus subsidies, gritting and road maintenance.

The latest wave of cuts proposals comes after the council agreed £44m of savings, mainly in the back office, in February.

But councillors voted in December to increase their allowances - sparking anger.

Cliff Jordan, Conservative leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives. Cliff Jordan, Conservative leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Cash also loomed large over the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, with the cost of that 12.5 mile road now estimated to come in at £205m.

Extra money had to be added to the £179m budget for the road, which should fully open in 2018.

There was brighter news with the announcement that the Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing would get £98m.

Politically, the year saw the Conservatives tighten their grip on County Hall, with UKIP and the Greens wiped out.

But it’s been a tough few months for Tories at North Norfolk District Council, with eight councillors quitting since June.

The repercussions of the county (or at least some of it) saying no to a devolution deal at the back end of 2016 continue to be felt.

Broadland and South Norfolk councils are exploring sharing of services, while county council leader Cliff Jordan mooted a revival of unitary status.

Mr Jordan’s suggestion did not go down well among the councils which would disappear if that happened.

And fissures appeared in the relationship between Broadland, South Norfolk and Norwich over where thousands of homes should be built.

The Labour controlled city had worked with its Conservative led neighbours through the Greater Norwich Development Partnership to draw up a 2011 blueprint for where homes should be built.

But, with more homes needed, 2017 saw conflict between City Hall leader Alan Waters and his Broadland and South Norfolk counterparts Andrew Proctor and John Fuller over where more homes should be built - whether there should be more dispersal in rural areas or focus around Norwich.

With the public asked for views from next month, expect that issue to rear its head once again in 2018.

Other news

06:00

The mother of an RAF soldier who died in a motorcycle is taking on an unusual fundraising activity to raise money for the air cadets, an organisation she says helped to shape her son’s career.

The long May Bank Holiday weekend will see and interesting mix of weather, with humid conditions, heavy rain and a risk of thunderstorms.

09:02

For thousands of students around Norfolk and Suffolk, exams are fast approaching.

Yesterday, 18:00

The results of a survey distributed across a Norfolk seaside town show that residents oppose plans to redevelop a lifeboat memorial site, however the district council says they will continue to explore the idea.

Most Read

Yesterday, 18:00

The results of a survey distributed across a Norfolk seaside town show that residents oppose plans to redevelop a lifeboat memorial site, however the district council says they will continue to explore the idea.

Read more
Wells Town Council
09:02

For thousands of students around Norfolk and Suffolk, exams are fast approaching.

Read more
Mon, 17:40

A student from Norfolk had more than seven strokes after a night out and has now taken to YouTube to share her emotional story.

Read more
Twitter
06:00

The mother of an RAF soldier who died in a motorcycle is taking on an unusual fundraising activity to raise money for the air cadets, an organisation she says helped to shape her son’s career.

Read more
Netherlands
Yesterday, 11:30

A woman who has brought life-changing experiences to dozens of young people has been awarded the Fakenham Mayor’s Community Award.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 12°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Fakenham and Wells Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter